Nowadays we use a non-invasive technique with a standard sized BP cuff placed on the upper arm and connected by tubing to a small pump which records BP intermittently during normal daily life over 24 hours. These devices are much more accurate and reproducible than the standard home BP monitors. The devices are small, sophisticated, battery operated and lightweight. The number of measurements varies but may be up to 72 in 24 hrs.
We can diagnose high blood pressure (hypertension) more accurately, so that patients whose BP is actually normal are not treated unnecessarily (‘white coat hypertension’). It is the best way of looking at the effects of lifestyle changes, drug treatment and newer treatments such as renal artery denervation. The long term effects of hypertension are better predicted by 24hr BP monitoring. These devices can also detect unusual BP patterns such as ‘non-dippers’ whose BP does not fall at night. Such patterns are more common in complicated BP patients such as those with kidney failure, heart failure and hypertension of pregnancy (’pre-eclampsia’)
Download Patient Information Sheet for this test here.